Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
October 2, 2023

Anyone Looking Forward to a Highly Militarized IRS SWAT Team is Going to Be Sorely Disappointed

Because the IRS SWAT team memes your crazy aunt Kathy is spreading on Facebook are getting out of control, the AICPA has stepped forward to clarify: no, there will not be 87,000 armed IRS agents deployed to bang down the doors of American taxpayers.

From the Journal of Accountancy:

Reaction to increased funding for IRS operations in the Inflation Reduction Act, P.L. 117-169, enacted Aug. 16, has featured “heated rhetoric,” but the act has also prompted real concerns regarding how the funding will be used and what that means for the tax profession and taxpayers, said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, in a statement Thursday.

“In recent weeks, there have been several suggestions of a militarized IRS that could be misleading,” Melancon said. “While it is true that the IRS has a criminal investigation unit that looks into certain fraudulent tax violations such as money laundering, cybercrimes, and organized crime involving drugs and gangs, recent claims of 87,000 new armed IRS agents to aid in enforcement are not rooted in fact.”

“The heated rhetoric about a militarized IRS is irresponsible [and] potentially dangerous for IRS employees,” he said.

Now we don’t expect Aunt Kathy to know — nor care — who Barry Melancon is and she’ll probably think he’s a shill for the man if you point her to this article but hey, at least he tried. Tell her he’s too busy shilling the CGMA and insurance policies for AICPA members to take on a part-time gig shilling for the government, that might appease her.

The memes are sort of funny (if you’re in on the joke) but let’s all do our part and make sure all our Aunt Kathys know that the odds of an IRS SWAT team are essentially nil. For starters, there’s no way in hell the IRS will even be able to find 87,000 agents. The IRS can’t even provide paperclips to its hard-working employees.

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said earlier this week the majority of new hires the IRS makes will be those who answer the phones, work on processing individual tax returns or go after high-end taxpayers or corporations who are avoiding their taxes. Less than 1% of new hires will be in the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) area, which currently has a total of about 2,100 special agents and is hiring about 300 more. Additionally, the gun thing is “absolutely false,” they don’t plan on strapping up all these new agents (because why would someone manning an IRS phone bank need a gun?); less than 3% of IRS employees carry weapons. Lastly, the plan for the Inflation Reduction Act funding — which will be spread over 10 years — will add employees over time to help the IRS modernize its ancient systems (and people). “[T]he IRS has one of the oldest workforces in government,” he wrote. “Staffing has been in a deep decline for many years. More than 50,000 employees will retire in the next few years, leaving the foundation of the tax system that the nation relies on at risk. We’ve been losing 10,000 employees a year.”

Will enforcement go up? Yeah, probably. But the IRS has a helluva backlog to get through first.

AICPA disputes ‘misleading’ claims on new IRS funding, calls for service improvements [Journal of Accountancy]

Latest Accounting Jobs--Apply Now:

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

1 Comment

  1. How would anyone know this is a picture of an IRS facility?
    Does the IRS allow its employees to publish photos of internal operations on social media?
    More importantly, who really believes that Barry Melancon has an sway over what Biden’s IRS does or doesn’t do? Seriously?
    If you truly believe that 81 million people voted for Biden and his agenda, why would it be so hard to believe that 87,000 people wouldn’t want to be part of this kind of IRS?

Comments are closed.

Related articles

white alarm clock next to white coffee cup

Monday Morning Accounting News Brief: Blaming PwC’s Bro Culture; How Do We Do Office Professional Now? | 10.2.23

Hey, welcome to October. You have my permission to start putting up those Halloween decorations now. Let’s get right to it! The news, I mean. Here’s something for anyone who needs it (you know who you are): Back in the office? Here’s how to be professional in the workplace Bloomberg explains the PwC Australia tax […]

dog walker with five dogs

Friday Footnotes: EY’s Six CEO Candidates; Deloitte UK Partner Payouts Increase Again; IIA Gets Their Way | 9.29.23

Footnotes is a collection of stories from around the accounting profession curated by actual humans and published every Friday at 5pm Eastern. While you’re here, subscribe to our newsletter to get the week’s top stories in your inbox every Tuesday and Friday. See ya. CPA Exam Friendly reminder, deadlines to apply for BEC before the […]